Thousand Leaves Stuffed Cabbage

I can’t explain why I’ve been craving stuffed cabbage, but there it is. My mother never made it while we were growing up. The only time I ate it as a child was when I went to my friend Joan’s house for dinner. Her family owned the local funeral home, and they lived upstairs. Her mother made stuffed cabbage the evening I visited, and after dinner Joan invited me to go downstairs to comb the hair of their latest “guests.” I declined. But ever since then, I’ve really enjoyed stuffed cabbage in the fall and winter. There are variations of stuffed vegetables, especially stuffed cabbage, all over the world. This recipe is one I made two years ago. The umeboshi adds such a lovely flavor to the rich pork and sweet cabbage that I hope you will try this recipe.

Ginkgo Nut Bleu Cheese Bites

Yesterday, under a sunny sky with golden ginkgo leaves raining down on me, I gathered yet another bucket of ginkgo nuts. Yes, we have several hundred. It must be my squirrel genes! Thanksgiving is coming up so I have been thinking about appetizers to bring to holiday dinners. Hostess gifts! Crackers are good: they can be served immediately or saved to enjoy later. I thought of cheese crackers with ginkgo nuts and found a few recipes which inspired me to try a version of my own.

Comfort Food: Rice Porridge

Early dark evenings make me crave warm comfort food. In Japan, this meal conjures your mother’s consoling touch, a gentle dish to eat when you didn’t feel well, food to soothe an upset stomach, a cozy homey dinner to simply enjoy.
This is the first time I’ve made this recipe for Mr. Tess, and I know he likes brown rice. It takes a little longer to cook, but it has a nice nutty flavor and no doubt more vitamins than the traditional white.

Salmon with Chestnuts and Ginkgo Nuts

I’m rich! If only I could take my treasure, laughing, all the way to the bank: I have collected and cleaned several hundred ginkgo nuts.
What will I do with them? They certainly are on many future menus here in The Ginkgo House: I don’t think we will get tired of them. Ginkgo nuts are valued for their flavor and fortune. They are used in good luck dishes served at New Years and weddings. They are cooked in soups, stir-fries, desserts, and eaten with beer for good health.
The Chinese (later also Japanese [ginnan]) word ginkyo means “silver apricot” (gin=silver, kyo=apricot). Coincidentally, this recipe has a silver sauce (gin-an). It is a gentle dashi-based sauce thickened with cornstarch or kuzu starch (arrowroot).

Go Nuts! Ginkgo Nuts

A ginkgo tree is lovely with its summer grey-green fan-shaped leaves fluttering in the slightest breeze. We are lucky to have a female gingko in our front yard. This is our first year in this house, and I’ve watched the tree, waiting for the edible “nuts” to fall. The fleshy seed coat may look like yellow cherries, but it smells something like very stinky cheese or even dog feces. This post describes how to prepare ginkgo nuts for a fun and tasty snack.

Salmon Steamed with Chestnuts and Ginkgo Nuts
An autumn recipe from Japan and a calla lily from my husband are too elegant to allow me to sulk about dinner for one. Calla lilies are pleasingly ingenious and simple flowers, romantic and understated. The food is also simple, with subtle flavors of chestnuts and gingkos. Steaming the fish with kombo and a little saké is as easy to make for one as it would be for a party.
The new house has moved from potential, to possible and now to probably and I am imagining the plant, among others, blooming in the gigantic front window overlooking the gingko tree in the front yard…

Fresh Ginkgo Nuts
fresh gingko nuts

A ginkgo, lovely as it is with its evocative nickname—maidenhair tree: for its fan-shaped leaves resembling the pinnae of the Maidenhair fern.—raining gold in the fall, the seeds concealing edible green lucky jade, is not a good reason to buy a house. But as we considered living in that house, I noticed that the garden/landscape had some unusual plants. I looked up and saw that tree to fall in love with. Of course, I looked down and picked up some of the seeds. I know better now; I won’t fall in love with another house.